INTERMITTENT, REDUCED CALORIES TWO DAYS A WEEK
EASY, BUT THEY CALL IT A DIET...
I recommend this in The Quickest Route To Good Health book (link to it from the Books page).
Also, see my experience with this diet, at the end of this piece.
Dr. Michael Mosley is a journalist now, but he trained as a doctor. His journalism is, not surprisingly, very research and fact oriented. I would recommend as a quick read for general health purposes and as a tool to understand this strategy that you read his book The Fast Diet (some people will just want to watch the video to the left). The book does a great job of discussing in an understandable way the mechanisms for health that will be impacted, including living a much better life and being more likely not to have cancer and/or heart disease, etc.
LONGER, BETTER LIFE
Calorie restriction has been proven to prolong life, but it is too hard to do on an ongoing basis.
But Dr. Michael Mosley investigated, as documented in the PBS/BBC film, and found what would work for him and interviewed the doctors and experts in the field.
He now recommends what is called a form of intermittent fasting, but is more of a "strategy for eating", as you go for two non-consecutive days a week with limited eating of 500/600 calories for women/men for the day. And on the other days eat as you please (which you can look forward to the very next day!).
You actually, it turns out, do not naturally eat alot more the next day, only 10-25% more, so cutting out 75% of your calories for each "fasting" day will reduce your net calories by enough (3600 calories) to lose a pound a week. Simple.
Because this is very doable, it fits into the criteria of what I see as being easy enough for one to sustain the diet.
I do it on Tuesdays and Fridays, as it is necessary to have a regular pattern. And my "fat weight" easily drops about a pound a week.
Before I wrote the book, investigating for myself, I had no really clear, pre-set up strategy for losing weight - as you'd see if you've read what I've shared about my earlier forays. I had some success in the past (about 20+ pounds off, with 15 of it kept off permanently) but I didn't like the 5 pound fluctuation plus I wanted to go to a BMI of 22; my weight right now is about 7 lbs off of my old target: My Nutrition/Weight/Exercise Plan Numbers. But now to go to a 22 BMI, I would have to lose more weight.
THE ADVANTAGES AND CONSIDERATIONS
1. Very doable - You can eat all you want to on the other days, and still get some food during the "fasting" day.
a. No complicated rules to follow. (Spread the calories over the day in the way that you wish.
b. No calorie calculations at all 5 days a week
c. Can switch to one day a week for a maintenance program (as Mosley had to do when his wife told him he was starting to look gaunt).
2. Energy levels stay up - The body is remarkably able to convert fat to energy as needed - and we pretty much have a plentiful supply of that.
3. Feel good - BDNF is produced in the brain, causing good feelings and brain neuron growth (you get smarter).
4. Exercise is not impaired at all, even in studies of athletes
5. Helps get you off of the sugar spike syndrome that causes fat and deadly inflammation and tends to break the addiction to worthless, harmful foods.
6. Repair is performed when the body is allowed to rest from eating, so you also get healthier.
Also, it is not an "extreme intervention" which would put a huge demand on the body and the person, such as prolonged multi-day fasts. In the intermittent fasting, as opposed to prolonged diets, does not cause muscle loss (which is not a good kind of weight to lose, as we want to lose fat instead!). And muscle loss causes the metabolism to slow, which doesn't happen in the intermittent fasting process here.
Of course, consult with your doctor to make sure you don't have any contraindications, such as being pregnant.
MY EXPERIENCE WITH IT
At first there was some fairly minor discomfort, but I could exercise fine and felt good overall. I made up a little 3x5 card with my calories on it, which of course caused me to have to establish what the calories were in the key items I consumed. (See my pdf document, linking from Servings By Item, Plus Observations, For My Easy Reference.)
A slice of turkey (Costco) was only 40 calories and was a good item per amount of satisfaction per calorie. And as I was calculating forward, I discovered I should only eat one egg instead of two, but that my bell peppers adding fairly minor calories but were still satisfying (I ate 3 small ones at 25 cals total). I chose not to eat 1/2 an avocado as it used up 1/5 of my daily calories at 120 calories.
I used up 180 calories with 3 tbsp of whipping cream in my 2 cup size cup of coffee, which in an ordinary day I had been doing twice, but with a more generous dose! I probably had been consuming about an extra 480 calories a day - that's not a good tradeoff. So I had none in the next cup and have given it up totally forever now - it tastes good enough with a little bit of Stevia.
At 5 calories each, I ate a fiber "gummy", with 2.5 g fiber about 3 times during the day. They're tasty with a trace of sugar (2 have less than a gram of sugar). I ate a handful of spinach, placed directly in my mouth and chewed down to size...strange but true (and very efficient!).
I was a little hungry in the afternoon, so I ate a slice of turkey and the handful of spinach and I felt fine.
I had exercised in the mid morning, doing the treadmill with one high intensity run and did extreme weights with dumbbells about 20 lbs each over what I often use (25 lbs each arm just for mild exercise, but multiple reps), which caused my reps to go down, except that during the "row" I was able to do more reps than the normal high intensity rules suggest should be the limit (no more than 12).
I was most comfortable not eating until about noon and then pacing the rest over the afternoon until about 7 p.m.
During the first days, I did not drink enough water. I found that drinking alot of water felt good and it kept me more full. (A "bad move" was drinking a large cup of coffee and/or sipping on one in the afternoon, as this made my stomach more acidy and empty feeling, so I dropped it - I didn't really need the boost at all.)
Finally, it became totally comfortable all day, although I did find it helpful to know that I could eat all I wanted the next day. And it was nice to get up the next morning and weigh myself (once a week on Saturday morning).
The weight loss was easy at 1 lb a week.
So, I would, needless to say, recommend this. It feels alot better than restricting myself every day (though I had been screwing up with my "hidden calories" from whipping cream, which undoubtedly screwed up my past efforts somewhat).
I am now a big fan of this strategy.
And I know that I now have a tool where I can definitely regulate my weight at will, any time I notice that it is up a pound or two.